“Dirt Boyz” get dirty
By Senior Airman Mackenzie Richardson, 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
/ Published March 23, 2017
FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- The snow slams the windshield as the broom weaves back and forth across the Fairchild airfield. The 92nd Civil Engineer Squadron pavement and construction Airmen are no strangers to late night phone calls, dirt under their fingernails and the unpredictable intense weather that comes with living in the Pacific Northwest.
They’re often referred to as “Dirt Boyz” for their constant interaction with more than 100 pieces of dirty, heavy construction equipment and hand tools used to repair Fairchild’s roads, airfield, fences and drainage systems.
“Our job requires that we remain proficient at operating numerous pieces of heavy machinery, showing versatility on jobsites and maintaining a vigilant eye over airfield conditions,” said Staff Sgt. Steven Lowe, 92nd CES pavement and construction equipment craftsman.
The Snow Barn is the building the “Dirt Boyz” operate out of and it stakes claim to nearly every piece of heavy equipment they use. It’s not unusual to show up to a project and find five or more different pieces of heavy equipment and countless hand tools on site, Lowe said.
The shop is coming off one of the worst winters Fairchild has seen in a while, and their hard work is being recognized. They were recently named the winners of the American Association of Airport Executives’ Balchen/Post Award for their outstanding performance in snow removal during the 2016 season.
The award recognizes airports and military installations on a national level for their efforts in keeping airfields operationally safe at all times. Fairchild has won the award seven times and has been honorably mentioned three times.
Throughout the winter season, the 92nd CES pavement and construction shop is found removing snow and standing by 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Without the team safely and efficiently removing the snow, jets are unable to get off the ground, which puts Fairchild’s global reach mission on hold, said Airman 1st Class Manuel Rivera Matos, 92nd CES pavement and construction journeyman.
“In times of need, we do not stop for extreme heat, high winds or intense blizzards,” Lowe said. “We can be called on at the drop of a dime to respond to fix impaired airfield pavements, vacate runway debris, remove snow from the airfield, eliminate storm damage and repair busted water lines.”